Historical Development of the Prophetic Office Part 6/9

Prophets in Judah Isaiah, and Others down to Jeremiah

In the kingdom of Judah the status of the prophets was somewhat more favorable than it was in Ephraim. They were indeed forced in Jerusalem also to contend against the injustice on the part of the ruling classes and against immorality of all kinds. But in this kingdom there were at any rate from time to time found kings who walked more in the footsteps of David. Thus Asa followed the directions of the prophet Azariah (2Ch 15:1 ff).

It is true that the prophet Hanani censured this king, but it was done for a different reason. Jehoshaphat also regularly consulted the prophets. Among those who had dealings with him Elisha is also mentioned (2Ki 3:14), as also some other prophets (compare 2Ch_19:2; 20:14-37).

The greatest among the prophets during the period of the Assyrian invasions was Isaiah, who performed the duties of his office for more than 40 years, and under the kings Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, and possibly too under Manasseh, through his word exercised a powerful influence upon the king and the nation. Although a preacher of judgments, he at critical times appeared also as a prophet of consolation. Nor did he despise external evidences of his prophetic office (compare Isa 7:11; Isa 38:22, Isa 38:8).

His contemporary Micah is in full agreement with him, although he was not called to deal with the great of the land, with kings, or statesmen, as was the mission of Isaiah. Nahum, Zephaniah and Habakkuk belong rather to the period of transition from the Assyrian to the Chaldean periods.

In the days of Josiah the prophetess Huldah had great influence in Jerusalem (2Ki 22:14). Much more important under this same king was the prophet Jeremiah, who was called by God for a great mission. This prophet during the siege and destruction of Jerusalem and after that time spoke as an unyielding yet deeply feeling exponent of God, and was compelled again and again to dash to the ground the false hopes of the patriots, whenever these arose. Not so firm was his contemporary and fellow-sufferer Uriah (Jer 26:20).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia; James Orr, M.A., D.D., General Editor; Published 1915, 1939; Public Domain.